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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Simplify Christmas...Celebrate Christ

There is a great song that I heard on YouTube a week or so ago called, “Where is the Line for Jesus.”  Please take a moment to listen to it.  

As I reflected on this song and the idea of where is the line for Jesus, all the children line up to see Santa Claus in the mall and yet do they line up to see baby Jesus in the manger.  The wonderful gift and birth of Jesus is sandwiched between the gift giving and the buying frenzy that ensues before and after Christmas.  Ultimately, when you think about it there is never a line to see Jesus.  He is always there for us, present at our local parish church, and always listening to us and speaking to us, waiting for us to listen.  Where is the line, we create a line to Jesus.  Our actions sometimes create a line that separates us from Christ.  All those things that we do year round and especially during advent, things that are put in front of going to Mass or praying daily or just listening to what God has to say to us at that moment in our day. I am guilty of these things over and over and when I think about all the times, the moments when I am frustrated in a store or stuck in traffic trying to get to the store because I put off shopping to the last minute.  The crowd at the stores, the traffic on the roads, the last minute gift rush, in all this, we lose the silence, the simplicity of Christmas.  A simple yes by a simple girl, who was extraordinary without even knowing it, made possible the birth of our savior as vulnerable, humble, unassuming baby in a manger.  Our lives might be full of distractions and interruptions, all the background noise that clouds our lives and all God asks for is a few minutes of silence where we stop and listen to him.  In our human nature, we are great at talking and keeping busy and filling every single moment of our lives with everything except God.  As we search for words to explain this amazing mystery and gift, I believe nothing says it better than the words of St. John’s Gospel.

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.  The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.  He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”  John 1:1-14

So this Christmas day take a moment, a moment of silence, listen to what God has to say to you today on this the day of the Birth of our Lord.  Christmas has become so complex and so I say something simple on such a wonderful day.  And as you reflect on Christmas realize that the Incarnation is not simply a celebration that is confined to one day.  The humbling, the self-emptying, the kenosis of our Lord Jesus Christ is something that should be celebrated everyday.  It is in fact celebrated in the Mass, Jesus is present to us always, in the Eucharist.  There is never a line to receive what Jesus has to give us.  During this season we tend to put things in the way and as was mentioned above a line is created to see Jesus.  The trip to the store, to relatives, to whatever gets in the way of meeting our Lord in the Mass, participating in the celebration of Heaven and earth.  So this Christmas make the celebration that you attend the right way meet Jesus in the Mass
Simplify Christmas…Celebrate Christ.

The following song is “I Celebrate the Day” by Reliant K - but don't just celebrate this day on Christmas but celebrate it everyday, because Jesus comes to meet us everyday....
Dear Our wonderful humble Savior,
Help us to celebrate the this day and everyday
When you came among us, emptying yourself and becoming one of us
Where you lowered yourself to our level, to raise us up beyond ourselves
Allowing us through your gift to become partakers in the divine nature
Lord Jesus, help us to pause this day and everyday
To realize the great gift that was given to us when “the Word became flesh”
May we always realize that it is through the all-encompassing love
That God has for us that, brought about the most earth shattering event the earth has ever seen
May we always honor you, worship you, and adore you the way you deserve
Give us the gift to love you as you love us, with all-encompassing love
We ask our Blessed Mother to aid us, intercede for us,
For Mary is the one who loves you most perfectly
May she help us love you Jesus more perfectly
Hail Mary…..
Amen